Kyriakos Mitsotakis had a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier today, on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Vilnius.
The prime minister spoke for about an hour with the Turkish president, with government sources speaking of a "meeting that took place in a good atmosphere", while "the discussion was honest". The two leaders agreed on the framework for the continuation from now on in Greek-Turkish.
Earlier, Kyriakos Mitsotakis had also met with French President Emmanuel Macron.
In his statements made by the prime minister after the contact with the Turkish president, he said:
"I can tell you that the meeting took place in a good atmosphere. We must build on the positive developments of the last few months after the earthquakes in Turkey and our practical support. Many things changed in the psychology of our relationships. Today's meeting verified the mood for a new restart of Greek-Turkish relations and for a clearer road map on how we will move in the coming months. We intend to meet again before the end of the year, in Thessaloniki at the highest level with a positive agenda on the menu. Of course, not all problems were magically solved, but there is a willingness to re-approach the framework of our relations from a positive point of view."
Regarding the exploratory discussions between Greece and Turkey, the prime minister said that "the framework envisioned for a good cooperation has three axes.
The political dialogue under the guidance of the foreign ministers. Our main difference is the delimitation of EEZ and continental shelf sea zones in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. The second channel is Confidence Building Measures that can bear fruit. The third axis concerns the so-called positive agenda, in a work that has been done by Mr. Fragogiannis and concerns issues of economic cooperation, energy cooperation and cooperation, possibly in areas such as civil protection. It is an area in which I believe that we can relatively quickly have some tangible results so that they can be formalized, hopefully at the Supreme Cooperation Council in Thessaloniki before the end of the year. I also want to remind you that the issue of Euro-Turkish relations will be the subject of discussion at the level of the European Council. The European Council, as you know, has in the past taken decisions regarding the framework of European Union-Turkey relations. Do you remember because you had covered them thoroughly that he had opened two roads for Turkey. The good and the less good. Our intention is to move on the positive path and certainly the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations can only help the overall approach of Turkey to the European Union, since I have no reason to doubt that this intention of Turkey seems at the moment to be sincere".
Regarding the contacts with Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Solz and Eddie Rama, Mr. Mitsotakis said: "We have confirmed cooperation on many levels, including in the defense sector. At the end of September, the first frigate will fall into the water, while Ukraine and immigration were on the table. The same applies to the discussion that followed with Olaf Solz. With Albanian Prime Minister Rama, I repeated to him that the Beleri issue must be resolved immediately. It is a matter of rule of law when an elected mayor is detained without charge. I sent a clear message given the European step that Albania wants to take."
Regarding the discussion with Joe Biden and the F-16s that Turkey is requesting from the US, the prime minister said: "Greece-US relations are stronger than ever. We reaffirmed the very high level of cooperation. I reiterated the great importance of the port of Alexandroupolis for the supply of NATO's eastern wing. In the context of Greece-USA cooperation, we will have positive news about the strengthening of the Greek armed forces. We are only indirectly concerned with the US-Turkey relationship, the position of Congress seems to be known. It is common knowledge that equipment given to NATO member states should not be used against other member states. The US sees Greece as a factor of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean".
Regarding Euro-Turkish affairs, he said that "I have always said that we do not have a strategic advantage with a Turkey that will be facing everyone in the West. It is beneficial for Turkey to play by our own rules and have a closer relationship with the EU. We are at the beginning of a new term and I have no reason to doubt Mr. Erdogan's intentions. Mr. Erdogan's attitude is a change in relation to what we have seen. I see the glass as half full and not half empty. We did not forget what happened in the last four years. But we can live in peace, even if we cannot solve the issue of maritime zones. With the path of the MOUs, which has existed informally in recent months, we can defuse possible foci of future tension".
Regarding Greece's armaments and Turkey's few references to them in the recent past, Mr. Mitsotakis said: "Our armaments program shields the armed forces and we should not see it through the prism of rivalry with Turkey. We have always been concerned that NATO equipment should not be used to violate the rights of countries."
See the statements of Kyriakos Mitsotakis after the meeting with Erdogan
As we wrote earlier in Pentapostagma, we have developments in Greek-Turkish after the meeting between Mitsotakis and Erdogan in Lithuania, with a meeting of the Supreme Council of Greece-Turkey Cooperation "locking" for the Autumn in Thessaloniki.
In a statement, Megaro Maximou notes that Mr. Mitsotakis and Erdogan agreed that it is to the benefit of both countries that the positive climate that has developed in bilateral relations in recent months has continuity and consistency.
To this end, the two sides agreed to build on the positive momentum and to activate multiple channels of communication between the two countries in the next period. They agreed that the next meeting of the Supreme Council of Greece-Turkey Cooperation will take place in the fall in Thessaloniki.
Joint announcement by the Greek government and the Turkish presidency
The fact that the Maximos Palace and the Turkish presidency issued a joint statement after the end of the meeting is unprecedented. In fact, the two leaders announce in the announcement specific steps in order for "the positive climate that has developed in bilateral relations in recent months to have continuity and consistency", agreeing that the next meeting of the Supreme Cooperation Council of Greece - Turkey will take place in the autumn in Thessaloniki.
At the same time, Mr. Mitsotakis and Erdogan entrust the coordination of the joint meeting to the foreign ministers of Greece, Giorgos Gerapetritis and of Turkey, Hakan Fidan. The choice of persons is not accidental as both ministers are persons of absolute confidence of the two leaders.
Giorgos Gerapetritis is a close associate of Mr. Mitsotakis, who was called in previous years to undertake difficult missions, while Hakan Fidan was at the side of Mr. Erdogan, who from 2010 to 2013, entrusted him with the management of the secret services.
The announcement of the Turkish presidency in detail:
"Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in the presence of the Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Greece.
The meeting took place in a good atmosphere. President Erdogan and Mr. Mitsotakis agreed that it is to the benefit of both countries that the positive climate that has developed in bilateral relations in recent months has continuity and consistency.
To this end, the two sides agreed to build on the positive momentum and activate multiple channels of communication between the two countries in the coming period. They agreed that the next meeting of the Supreme Cooperation Council will be held in Thessaloniki in the fall. In addition, they tasked the two Foreign Ministers with guiding the process and reporting on progress.
The two leaders emphasized that they look forward to more frequent contacts at all levels, to build a climate of trust and the conditions that will lead to the improvement of Turkey-Greece relations".